May 2017 – Wilderness Safaris is celebrating the International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) on 22 May 2017, by underlining its commitment to not only protecting biodiversity in the eight countries in which it operates, but also to building further sustainable conservation economies in Africa.
Along with other conservation-minded organisations, Wilderness Safaris has identified the day itself, 22 May, as an opportunity to focus attention on both the threats to biological diversity from human activity and climate change, and on steps that can be taken to protect and promote biodiversity both locally and regionally.
“This year’s theme for IDB is Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism, which forms the exact premise on which our company is based”, observed Dr Sue Snyman, Wilderness Safaris Group Sustainability Manager. “By pursuing the positive contribution of authentic and sustainable ecotourism to biodiversity, we truly believe that we can positively contribute to biodiversity awareness, habitat restoration, community engagement, and better resource management”.
Wilderness Safaris currently traverses and helps protect more than 2.5 million hectares of prime African wilderness land across eight biomes and five centres of endemism, harbouring 33 IUCN Red List species – all of which are increasing in Wilderness Safaris concessions. It has played a pioneering role in demonstrating that a successful ecotourism company can add real and meaningful commercial and social value, as well as contributing to the ongoing protection of Africa’s biodiversity.
“We also strongly believe that it is not enough to operate in the savannah only, and that serious ecotourism companies need to migrate the model into less well-known and even more threatened ecosystems”, added Dr Snyman. “In line with our vision to build further conservation economies in Africa, we are proud of the imminent launch of Bisate Lodge in Rwanda which we hope will make a significant positive impact to both the Rwandan people and a variety of endangered species”.
The addition of Bisate to Wilderness Safaris’ portfolio means that the company will have the opportunity to contribute to the preservation of an additional and incredibly rich rainforest ecosystem, home to a variety of endangered species including the iconic mountain gorilla.
Biodiversity, at the level of species and ecosystems, provides an important foundation for many aspects of tourism. Recognition of the great importance of attractive landscapes and a rich biodiversity to tourism economies underpins the political and economic case for biodiversity conservation. A well-managed tourist sector can contribute significantly to reducing threats to, and maintain or increase, key wildlife populations and biodiversity values through tourism revenue. These goals are entirely aligned with Wilderness Safaris’ biodiversity objectives and the company remains committed to sustainable ecotourism in Africa in order to drive both economic growth and the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.
Click here to read an in-depth blog written Wilderness Safaris Conservation Manager, Kai Collins.